Views My Own

Theresa May Is Not the Prime Minister

The fantasy that May is in any way in charge can't be allowed to continue.
June 20, 2017, 8:00am
Photo: US Embassy London

Something monumental happened on the 8th of June. Jeremy Bernard Corbyn, the once-embattled leader of the once-struggling Labour party, defied almost every piece of electoral received wisdom to overturn the polls and win the political battle in the election.

The new Labour leader's victory – largely fuelled by the enthusiasm of young people, left behind by neoliberalism, for his unapologetically socialist ideals – was particularly impressive given that, ever since he became Labour leader in 2015, Corbyn has come under heavy fire from all corners of the press, even ostensibly left-wing outlets largely refusing to take the possibility of his premiership seriously. He – and his party – were supposed to be facing electoral wipeout. But the boy Corbs has proven them all wrong.


Shockingly enough, however, a strange conspiracy still persists. Jeremy Corbyn clearly looks like the Prime Minister – his ideas now dominate our political conversation; his magnanimity in meeting victims of the recent atrocities at Grenfell Tower and Finsbury Park have established him, swiftly, as a sort of father of the nation – but the media continue to refuse to acknowledge his position. Open any newspaper, or turn on the television, and you will be told that – despite having lost her majority in parliament; despite having no support from basically anyone; despite being so widely despised that she's started to dry-heave whenever she catches sight of her own reflection – Theresa May is still the Prime Minister.

It's time we put a stop to these lies. Theresa May can't be the Prime Minister. If Theresa May was still the Prime Minister, she wouldn't have initially refused to meet the victims of the Grenfell fire; she wouldn't have run from a crowd of them screaming "coward!" at her outside a church. She would have been able to go on Newsnight and answer questions about the atrocity with dignity and courage, not the cringing waffle she in fact served up.

Photo: Matthew Francey

If Theresa May was the Prime Minister, she would have been able to pass a Queen's Speech by now, and she wouldn't be plotting to hold up the next one until 2019. If Theresa May was still the Prime Minister, then her distinctive ideology – neoliberalism lightly tempered with nativist bigotry – would still seem to commentators like a sensible, indeed inevitable, part of our political conversation.

The absolute falsehood that Theresa May is still the Prime Minister represents nothing less than the attempt of our now-discredited establishment political class to cling onto power; their fists clenched tighter round the state as they stiffen with rigor mortis.


Theresa May clearly can't govern. All she – or indeed, any potential Tory successor – can do is squat in 10 Downing Street until the next general election is called. Given the urgency of our country actually having a functioning government at this point – Brexit negotiations have just started; austerity is claiming still more human victims in still more dramatic ways; terrorist attacks are becoming an apparently fortnightly part of our lives – we cannot allow these charlatans to pull off this trick successfully.

At all turns, we must refuse to humour the establishment's ridiculous "Theresa May is the Prime Minister" fantasy. Theresa May must never be addressed as the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, we must only acknowledge the political authority of one man: Jeremy Bernard Corbyn, who even if he is not officially recognised as the Prime Minister, has become just that in the people's hearts.

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I admit, to some readers, everything I've just written might seem a little odd. Surely, you might point out, Corbyn doesn't command a parliamentary majority either. And surely, even if Theresa May's political authority isn't quite legitimate, just ignoring it can't possibly be helpful – acknowledged by the establishment as being in office, her government could still conceivably do a lot of damage.

Both of these things are true, but we ought not to focus on them. To do so would have been like going into this last general election assuming that everything the establishment had told us about Jeremy Corbyn was right, and that under his leadership the Labour party were bound to fail. This was, clearly, the only "sensible" thing to think – but it was the commentators who capitulated to the force of what was sensible who ended up looking stupid. Through the irrational belief that Labour might not be wiped out at the polls, we created the conditions we have now – in which Corbyn's Prime Ministership looks, if not an obvious reality, then at least a distinct possibility.

It would hardly be smart to give into the force of the sensible or the rational now. Until such time as Theresa May goes and another election is called, the left must only have one rallying cry: Jeremy Bernard Corbyn is the Prime Minister. And if you disagree, in the words of one Twitter bio, you can fuck off.